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and in feeling one person's pain in the debate, I've contributed to the General Fail.

Not liking myself much today.


The Cultural Appropriation discussion going on at the moment is not about me.

But I wanted to say publicly that I have lost a lot of respect for some people whose journals I used to read (many of which I now can't read, as they have been deleted and/or friends locked) and whose books I enjoyed. 

WTF???  I understand some people have been hurt and are lashing out...but...WTF?????

stuff that caught in the sieve of my mind

1)  I still haven't come down from my Wimbledon high yet.  What made it great, for me, was not that Nadal won (although I did want him to win!), but that, despite the pressure of Federer's comeback, Nadal simply refused to lose, and in doing so forced Federer to choose not to win.  It was the best piece of sport I've ever seen, a story I could not stop reading until the end.  

Still trying to get P. to understand it, too.  To him, it was a great match, entertaining enough for a Sunday evening.  For me, it was no sleep before and no sleep afterwards, a compelling narrative, an illuminating, confirming, nearly-religious experience.  I think, with sport, either you have the faith that it means something, in which case it can be a metaphor for everything, or you don't have the faith, in which case it is just a waste of time.  

Going to buy the DVD, anyway.

2) Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn is out in 9 days.  The first chapter was included in an Eclipse Special Edition, but you cannot read it online, as all the places that originally posted it seem to have been served with DMCA notices.  Now, I appreciate that an author wants sales.  Needs sales.  Deserves them for all of her hard work.  But this seems to me just a little heavy-handed, an attempt to get people to splash out more money on top of what has already been spent.  The first chapter is out there; why not let the internets spread the word and hype it a little more? What's the harm?

If people were posting the second chapter, I could understand it.

I already have Eclipse (in hardback, too) and I am not going to buy it again.  I wish I had the strength not to buy Breaking Dawn, but I can't resist the story.

3) I wonder if Henry James read any William Blake?  

Thel's Motto:

Does the Eagle know what is in the pit?
Or wilt thou go ask the Mole:
Can Wisdom be put in a silver rod?
Or Love in a golden bowl?

Might be an interesting connection between that and The Golden Bowl.  There must be a reason why James chose that Golden Bowl, and I'd love to know it.  I wonder if there might be some nearly-lost folk meaning to it, an old story with meanings that we no longer know popularly?

4) Moving neatly on to Robert Graves...I wonder if the White Goddess is really just an elaborate self-justification?  Because today I have the Furies, the anxiety, that empty feeling which must somehow be chased away, and I've been thinking about my family, about the particular woman in that family who had two men vying for her affections, and I can't see any poetic meaning in that situation.  Which is a lie.  I just want to see it.  Because Graves never talks, when he mentions particular instances of that relationship, of the effects of that mythological urge on the real people who are fulfilling it, or who must suffer the consequences.  Which makes he think he was either very lucky, or very guilty indeed.

5) I am not fundamentally a rational creature.  My brain works on lurid flashes of inspiration and ideas that might be either right or wrong.  But there is some element of rationality that stops me fully believing or committing to such things.  Bah.


Horrid unionists.  Isn't it enough that they propped up a moribund government in 1996 and 1997 without doing it again now?  

And when did Labour turn into the Tories, anyway?  I'm having a little trouble recalibrating my Tories-are-evil mentality right now.

Certainly I never thought I'd regard David Davis as anything more than an ambitious right wing *insert insult of choice*.  Didn't think I'd agree with him on anything, ever.


And I did horrid things to my characters today.

getting old!

 You know you're getting old when a) you can answer one question on Counterpoint, and b) said question is to identify a singer whose piece was no. 1 when you were you 17.  

I cannot believe that 11 years have gone by since I first heard that particular song.



I am having a fortnight or thereabouts of quite intense worry.  It's improved since I worked out the source, which is that I think I have a sociopathic relative.  A close relative.  He fits the criteria very well.  Last time we met I got a sense of intense danger from him which makes me want to drop contact entirely. 

I think one of the reasons I watch so much sport is that my anxiety can be pushed into support for a particular team or player - it's a form of release.

An interesting discussion on men wolf-whistling/staring at women's breasts on guardian.co.uk last week, with most comments ridiculing the original column.  The position was that staring at women's breasts is not about appreciation but is about power over a woman.  (Note - a stare and a glance are very different things).  Most comments ridiculed this is feminism gone mad, women no longer understanding appreciation or being able to take a compliment.  Some male commenters speculated on where the female columnist lived.  The tone of the comments was irascible, bullying, and nasty, thus, in my opinion, proving the columnist's point.

I'm not going to argue theoretically, just detail three experiences I've had along that kind of line - 

1) I was working at a wedding, behind the bar, at about midnight last year when a very drunk guest started to hang about, ridiculing my inability to pour a pint/open a bottle/tell one beer from another.  (I don't drink and my bar assignment was very temporary!)  After about ten minutes of this 'conversation' the guest asked if I would like to go out with him one night.  My answer: No.  I couldn't even say I was sorry about that answer.  That man tried to take advantage of being a guest while I was working and he tried to put me down on a first meeting.  Not good.  Big danger signals right there.  So he was drunk.  So bloody what?  That kind of abuse of power is something no woman needs to get entangled in.  That's abuse of power right there.  Yes, I'm still angry, and no, I won't get over it.  Or myself.  I don't need to.

2) I was working at a petrol station when a man returned, having collected petrol about half an hour before.  It was late at night and I had the door locked.  He came to the window slot and produced a bunch of flowers, saying he'd done something silly and impulsive and that if I was upset he was sorry and that the flowers were mine whatever, but would I be interested in going out with him one day?  When I - politely - said no, I already had a boyfriend, he said something 'oh well' and drove off.  Slightly odd experience, but no sense of danger or threat - I was absolutely safe with all doors locked and an availabe panic button, and he was not insistent in any way.  No abuse of power, no manipulation, no threat.  That's appreciation, and it put a happy smile on my face.  That guy understood my freedom.

3) And yesterday, I was out with my partner at his yard, just driving out with him, when he passed a builder who keeps equipment at the same farm.  My partner and this builder are not friends and are in fact the polar opposite in every aspect of appearance and personality.  This builder saw me in the car and stopped my partner for a chat.  And through the whole thing he stared at me, clearly avid to know who I was, not looking me in the eye but staring at my chest as if I was on display purely for him.  That's not appreciation - that was about power, power over me, and power over my partner.  

On a lighter note.  Eddie Mair chairing Any Questions.  Hilarious.

Whiskey and Water by Elizabeth Bear

No spoilers.

Just, just...BRILLIANT. 

More, more, more, more, more! 

No Regrets - Shannon K Butcher - SPOILERS

I was so looking forward to this book.  The excerpt on the author's website created an insatiable urge to read more.

I'm not entirely sure the whole book lived up to this promise, however.  I enjoyed it; I read it fast; it's very exciting; fast-paced; hot sex.  I liked Noelle's cleverness - I like her bravery - I like her as a character.  No TSTL moments for her!


1)  David.  Stock, stock, stock.  Mary.  Stock.  Colonel Munroe.  Stock.  Alistair Maclean was writing these characters with more depth in the 1950s.  (He did so love variants on Mary for the names of his blonde, brave, beautiful, loving womenfolk.  And have I mentioned his tortured hero with scars and limp complex?)  I love Alistair Maclean, btw.    I enjoyed the book.  I just would've liked a bit more originality on these particular characters.

2) The Swarm.  Not knowing their broadest aims just made the whole thing completely unbelievable for me and it meant the villains, particularly Owen, were only able to be stock villains.  A whole layer of complexity could have been added if these terrorists had some kind of aim.  Terrorist organisations don't usually start up to kill and terrorise for no reason.  They aren't loose associations of sadistic psychopaths.  They have a cause.  (I'm not saying they don't end up a bit like that on occasion!)  If the Swarm is more like a criminal organisation then why the fuck can't it be called that?  It just doesn't work for me.  It's a very simplistic definition of good and evil that left me unsatisfied, and I think we - writers generally - can do better.  I would certainly have preferred (this is probably my soapbox talking!) some equivalence drawn between what happens to Noelle near the end, and what is known as 'coercion' and sanctioned by the US government.  Because there didn't seem to be much difference (I will admit to spotting one).

3a) The ending, part one.  I felt it was very abrupt; I would have liked it to be more cinematic, more dramatic.  It was all too even with the rest of the book.  In a way, I think the unrelenting pace developed into a fault there.

3b) The ending, part two.  So they love each other.  Happy ever after.  Damn it, I wanted some evidence that it took them a little time to heal, even if they did it together.  I wanted an epilogue!  *stamps foot*

4) Some clunky writing that could've been straightened out.  No, it wasn't necessary for sales.  But this could have been a better book, and I think it is a shame that time wasn't taken by author, agent and editor to make it so.

In summary, the best thing about this book, its unputdownable quality, is probably its worst fault, too - because it led to things being overlooked that could have lifted the book, quality-wise.


Poor old dog, I just don't think he's going to get any better.  

I am musically ignorant.  This state is not going to last long, however.  I dislike being ignorant about anything.

Worlds of Fantasy

Interesting programme on BBC4, about the child hero in fantasy.  Apparently fantasy helps us inadequates who worry that their parents didn't love them enough and that terrible things will happen to them, escape the real world.  It was a pity they didn't talk a little more about how the child hero returns, usually, to face his real world, not just to escape from it.  Concerns I had at the beginning of the programme were addressed during its course. 

Nice to see Alan Garner get some recognition, and Will Self was, as always, charmingly dismissive of and superior to everything.  If he wasn't so funny, he'd be very irritating.

Unfortunately it did not make P. better understand my way of thinking.  Fantasy's for children who won't grow up, he says.  I say, read some, and find out for yourself.  He says he can't be bothered.  I should just dismiss it and agree to differ - which he would agree with - but so much of me is so desperate for his approval that it's hard to do that.  While he actively wants me to think for myself and would be appalled if he thought I was doing or thinking things to gain his approval, my default position is to seek it.  I have to work on that.

Dog is kind of better, but sadder and more pulled-down than he was when he was actively suffering.  So not out of the woods yet.